Exploring The Moment Of Consumption Using Cell Phones


Satoshi Hosoe


Most mobile commerce strategies focus on “pushing” information onto consumers through wireless media devices such as cell phones. However, if marketing or consumer researchers direct their attention toward the latest developments in cell phone technology, such as internet accessibility and built-in digital cameras, they may discover its potential for “pulling” information from consumers. This paper introduces an alternative use of cell phones—the capturing of scenes of ongoing consumption moments by using a Web-based database system, which could lead to a better understanding of consumer behavior. Inspired by a unique data collecting process termed as the Experience Sampling Method, the study succeeds in developing a system for recording its informants’ consumption as “data in progress.” Text and image data are recorded with internet accessible cell phones, wirelessly transmitted to a database, and used for real-time analysis by an observer group. The paper presents several case studies from Japan in order to prove that the cell phone is a powerful tool for gathering micro-ethnographic data of the daily experiences of consumers.

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August, 2005

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